Emily Allen

As a city hall reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, Emily has spent the last year covering government and politics for communities throughout northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. Earlier, she interned at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and American Public Media, where she helped produce APM podcasts like Brains On, a science podcast for kids. She earned her B.A. from the University of Minnesota. Covering state government and southern West Virginia Emily is based in Charleston, the state capital, where she helps cover the legislative session at the start of the year. She works primarily in audio. Outside of the legislative session, her focus is in the southern coalfields and other rural counties that have been identified as distressed by the Appalachian Regional Commission.

Alex Acquisto

Alex has been a reporter at the Bangor Daily News in Maine, first covering the state’s lobster and tourism industries on the midcoast, then leading the paper’s metro coverage in Bangor, before finally reporting on Maine politics in the state capital. She has uncovered problems with the Legislature’s mandatory sexual harassment training that led to the ousting of its trainer, and her reporting on the deaths of children in Maine, prompted a legislative investigation into the state’s over-burdened child services agency. Her work has earned her several first place awards in education, news analysis, and law enforcement reporting from the Maine Press Association. Born and raised in Kentucky, Alex first spent time in Maine as a canoe instructor and returned to study writing. She has also reported for the Kennebunk Post and the Forecaster, and she was a teaching artists at The Telling Room, a non-profit organization that teaches storytelling skills to Maine youth. Alex is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. Watchdog reporting on public health in Kentucky Alex focuses on the region’s health problems, exposes flaws in Kentucky’s social services programs, gives voice to people struggling to care for themselves and their loved ones and offers potential solutions to problems that have plagued the area for a century. In particular, Alex serves as a watchdog of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, a government agency that wields enormous power over Kentucky’s most vulnerable citizens with  little scrutiny and transparency. She is based in Lexington, but spends extensive time in the Capitol bureau, especially during legislative sessions, and reports from communities in Eastern Kentucky.  She is directed by the newspaper’s deputy editor for accountability and engagement, who has overseen numerous award-winning projects and guides the paper’s coverage of state government and Appalachian Kentucky. 

Mara Abbott

Mara is an Olympic-athlete-turned-journalist. As a freelance journalist in Colorado, she has been published in The Wall Street Journal, espnW, The Colorado Independent, Runner’s World, and Westword. For her hometown paper, Boulder’s Daily Camera, she reported on everything from agricultural policy to the influence of local political advocacy groups. She has won multiple Colorado Associated Press Awards. Before her career in journalism, she was a professional cyclist — the two-time U.S. National Champion, winner of women’s Giro d’Italia and a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team where she placed fourth.

Christopher Aadland

Christopher Aadland covers Native American issues, Covid-19 fallout and the Montana Legislature for the Montana Free Press, an investigative news outlet in Helena, Montana. Aadland spent his first year as a Report for America corps member in Wyoming reporting on the Wind River Reservation for the Casper Star-Tribune. Chris and a colleague won a Wyoming Press Association Pacemaker award for a story they did revealing a dark money lobbying effort by one of the state’s tribes. Chris has also worked at the Wisconsin State Journal, where he covered public safety, city government, breaking news and other subjects. As a student at the University of Minnesota, he was the managing editor of the award-winning, student-run Minnesota Daily and a student reporter for the Twin Cities newspaper, the StarTribune. Chris, whose father is an enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, started learning the Ojibwe language while at the University of Minnesota and developed a desire to contribute to better, more nuanced coverage of Indian Country as a journalist.